(The Center Square) – New Year’s Eve celebrations for most people this year will be far different compared to the past due to coronavirus restrictions and concerns, but WalletHub has ranked the top 100 cities for celebrating the holiday based on a variety of factors.
California towns make up six of the top 10 – Fremont, Irvine, Chula Vista, Santa Ana, San Diego and Anaheim — with Virginia Beach, Va., taking the top spot. Honolulu came in second, followed by Plano, Texas.
With many states seeing a surge in coronavirus cases after Thanksgiving gatherings, there is a concern the same could happen because of Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“The most important thing to remember is that you do not want this to be your last New Year’s,” David Corsun, a professor of hospitality management at the University of Denver, told WalletHub. “Sit it out and you can ring in 2022 in style and good health.”
To compile the data, WalletHub looked at 15 metrics across two main categories, safety and entertainment, on a 100-point scale, then weighted the results based on the population of each city. Overall, the safety ranking accounted for 70 percent of each city’s score, and entertainment made up 30 percent.
For safety, the metrics included things like average number of coronavirus cases and deaths per capita in the past week, walkability, car theft rate and drunk driving fatalities per capita in the month of December.
Entertainment was ranked on topics including legality of fireworks, liquor stores per capita, availability of highly rated food takeout or delivery, and average beer and wine prices.
Six cities, including four in California – San Francisco, Washington, Sacramento and Long Beach – tied for first along with Colorado Springs, Colo., and Raleigh, N.C., for the fewest drunk driving fatalities per capita.
Some cities that ranked poorly for safety were among the highest rated for entertainment.
Detroit, for example, ranked as the second-best city for entertainment but was dead last for safety and finished 98th overall. Indianapolis received the highest rating for entertainment but was 91st for safety and 77th overall.
Conversely, some cities that ranked high for safety did not fare so well in entertainment.
Honolulu got the highest score for safety but was 88th for entertainment. Irvine, Calif., finished second in safety but seven spots from the bottom in entertainment.
Coming in dead last was a city people associate with major partying, New Orleans. The Big Easy ranked 98th for safety and 78th for entertainment.
Robert Brymer, a professor of hospitality at Florida State University, said people can save money by not traveling over the holiday weekend but can still get a change of scenery by staying at a local hotel.
“This may be your best chance to get a reduced room rate in a luxury hotel,” he said.
Brymer also noted that such an evening could include a bottle of champagne and take out from a high-end restaurant.